Monday, 28 October 2013

Blackpool Pleasure Beach - the pleasure was all ours....

Daddy and I took DS to Blackpool at the weekend. It was magical!

There was a special reason why it was magical and that reason is because this was the first ever trip that went smoothly, without a hitch/wobble/meltdown/anxiety attack. There were no issues, no issues at all which has never ever happened before!
We booked the usual premier inn for the night which DS loves! The fact that they are always the same wherever you go is a massive hit with DS as he knows what to expect.
So on Saturday we drove to Blackpool, Daddy sat in the back with DS,  fiddle toys within reach, drinks and snacks in plentiful supply - we were sorted for journey.
As we swung in the Premier Inn's car park, DS recognise the sign outside and started bouncing up and down on his seat in the car with excitement :)
We checked in and let DS get use to the room before we headed out again

Due to the crowds and noise at the pleasure beach, we decided to give that a miss and instead headed towards the tower for the Blackpool eye. However that wasn't running due to the strong winds so we headed to the sea as DS just loves water!
Actually, he loves water a little bit too much! He was adamant that he was going to run straight into the sea and it took all mine and Daddy's strength and energy to chase after him to prevent him from running in and being swept away - we both moved like smooth athletes! ;)
DS loved our reaction to this so kept trying to do it and it kind of became a bit of a game. We would take turns in chasing him (within safe distances to the water) the tickling him once we caught him-he loved it and giggled breathlessly when we caught him.

(Mental note to self: Ugg boots are not ideal for sprinting after very speedy and quick as a flash child - must re-valuate footwear for future use!!)

The plan was to grab some tea, go back to the room give DS a bath then come back out to see the illuminations. What exactly happened was that after DS's bath, he turned the TV off, light off said goodnight to us and got into bed. So that was that!
Once he was asleep, we quietly put X Factor on and made a cup of tea :)

The next day, we headed back to the seafront as DS had enjoyed it so much the day before. It was very very windy. As I got out of the car, the wind was literally blowing all my hair up, DS was smiling away at me so being the silly parent that I am I started pulling silly faces which he was finding hilarious!
*Daddy took this very flattering picture of me*

I cannot tell you how refreshing and so enjoyable it was to take DS on a trip that went without a hitch and one that he enjoyed so much - like I said its never ever happened before. I've been thinking why was it so successful, why did it work beautifully and why hasn't it before? This is what I came up with:

*It was planned weeks before with DS sensory issues considered

*I prepare DS the day before by showing him a pic of the room and telling him exactly how we were getting there, who was coming, when we would be going and how long we were staying

*Once we were there, the trip was totally child led. We followed his lead rather than us saying "right this is what we are going to do" DS decided what we were going to do and when we were going to do it.

*We took care to avoid sensory overload situations (ie avoiding the pleasure beach) and if it was impossible to avoid any we got him out as soon as possible

*Daddy and I enjoyed ourselves too which children pick up on. Happy parents=happy kids!

* We know DS well and know what he can tolerate and what he can't some being through trial and error of previous trips.

It would be great if this was the start of things to come but we'll see.
You know your a autism parent when a day out doesn't consist of your child lying on the floor, screaming whilst attacking you in the most public place ever *notice how they always choose the most public and exposed place possible??*
Even if we never have another day as good or as smooth as we did at the weekend again, I will always remember this one and for once, for the right reasons xx

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Unusual Trampoling Buddies....

Well I've had my first Makaton Signing lesson and absolutely loved it! I have a great tutor and a great rapport with him!
The time went so quickly but we did manage to cover quite a few signs as well as practice them too.
When the SALT (speech and language therapist) asked me if there were any particular signs I wanted to know.........well I'm sure you can guess what I asked for? Oh yes! the beloved washing machine! :)) if I learn nothing else then I must know this sign.

Now Makaton does not have a sign for washing machine (how could they leave this precious and important sign out I ask you?! hiss! boo!) so we are using the BSL sign for washing machine which I've had loooaaaaddss of practice at this week with DS! I'm looking forward to the next session already!

Now DS has been up to some funny little tricks just recently. He has taken to dragging some strange things onto his trampoline with him and bouncing with them. It started with the clothes airer, this was dragged up the garden, into the trampoline and bounced with until it could take no more and folded itself up! DS found this hilarious! So would get me to open it up again for him to bounce with the thing bouncing up and down with him for it them to fold shut. I must admit the more he laughed then the more I laughed (I'm sure the neighbours have already written me off to be bonkers ;)
Once he got tired of that, he started to take other things in for a bounce such as the shoe rack and his garage...
Here is a queue of trampolining 'buddies' all waiting patiently for their turn!
A few chairs, a scooter and a cushion have also joined DS for a bounce.

I'm not too sure of the fascination behind this one but it brings him fun and is not harming anyone so he can carry on least the beds are safe from trampolining........for now!

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Beauty of Signs....

When DS was around 18 months old we were always on the go.
We were always trotting off to either a Mother and baby group, baby swimming lessons or a playbarn somewhere. It was fun and I loved taking my baby these places showing him off and seeing how much fun he was having. Life was very sweet indeed.

One day, whilst walking out of our regular SureStart Children Centre after another busy play session with DS already well on his way of flaking out in his pushchair I just happen to spot a 'Makaton' sign language course leaflet on the reception desk.

The course was to run over 6 weeks by a fully qualified Makaton tutor, the aim of the course was to teach parents some basic signs to help ease of the frustration of toddler tantrums. For example, it is believed that many toddlers react badly to the word 'no', the sound of the word makes them throw themselves on the floor so it was suggested that using the sign for 'no' is a possible alternative. This was before anyone was aware of DS autism but I thought it would be something useful to learn so I signed up.

I found the course interesting and picked up the signs well even if I do say so myself :)
 I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would and have used makaton ever since with DS. Immediately at the end of the course, I wanted to take it further and increase the signs that I knew which would mean enrolling on a college course for this and with running a home, baby and juggling work it just wasn't a option really.
When later it became apparent that DS had communication and speech problems, I was grateful that I knew Makaton at a reasonable level and used it pretty much constantly when communicating with DS.
Even today sometimes I find myself signing when talking especially if I'm in a noisy environment (such as the pub!!!!) I will sign as I'm talking and not even realise I'm doing it!

DS doesn't sign but DOES have a good understanding of Makaton. All staff in his school sign too. Unlike the British Sign Language, Makton is used along with speech to, if you like promote the spoken word.

Recently, I've been very lucky to receive a grant from a local charity. A lady from the charity asked me to come up with a 'wish list' for both DS and myself. I listed things that DS would just absolutely love and for myself I listed a extension of  'Makaton'. She seemed interested in this and within a day had arranged for a independent speech and language therapist to come into my home whilst DS is at school for 1:1 sessions in Makaton - I can't wait!

I've met the speech therapist and discussed with him what I want to gain from our sessions, we have already plotted our first lot of sessions.

I think this is a great skill to have and can't wait to get cracking with it!
I promised myself that I would use my time from work effectively and I think this is just another good example of this :)